[rescue] Alpha and Linux?

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Wed Feb 12 08:37:30 CST 2020

On Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 12:16 AM Dave McGuire <mcguire at neurotica.com> wrote:

>   For that hardware I'd recommend NetBSD.  I've not run it on an Alpha
> recently, but a few years ago it used to be quite good on that platform.
You're welcome p

FWIW:  Back in the day, of the 'FOSS' UNIX implementations, the FreeBSD
port tracked the HW the best because between my team in Systems Engineering
and the Digital Semi folks supplied a lot of hardware, $s and technical
support primarily to the FreeBSD team (there was a 'not to be named' very
high end customer that spec'ed FreeBSD).  The Linux work was mostly Jim
Gettys and a couple of people in CRL.  A couple of WRL folks liked NetBSD
because they were hooked up with the Research community which wanted a
'real' UNIX that ran on anyone's hardware - and wanted a single kernel that
they could do comparisons.

At the time,  I was the WW Technical Director for the Partner Engineering
team, so I was the primary contact to the *BSD folks.  When Microsoft back
out of NT/Alpha, there were a lot of surplus workstations that had been
built and budgeted for NT ISV porting. I was able to get my hands on about
150-200 of them. I was sort of the candy man, I was behind the 'loan' a lot
of Alpha PW/500 systems to developers, as well as a Turbo Laser and a
couple of 4100's and later DS10s/DS20s [it was a pretty good deal, if I
loaned them to you, then our team paid for the service contract anywhere in
the world.  Once we wrote them off, DEC did not really try to get them

BTW: NetBSD got their Alpha support from the FreeBSD stream, which was the
primary *BSD support vehicle (if not running Tru64, then most UNIX based
paying customers ran FreeBSD).    Eventually, I built the $1K Alpha using a
Compaq AMD based MB (I still have the EV6 on my desk at Intel and the MB at
home).  Sadly, Jessie Lipcon and number of old DEC VPs hated it because it
was not based on 45% margins like the other Alphas.  The 'Compaq-tion' was
going on, so I left, the customer switched to Itanium (really) and FreeBSD
stopped supporting Alpha.  As to what happened to the hardware, I can not


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